Bengals consider Ryan Fitzpatrick as Andy Dalton’s backup
UPDATE: Now that Fitzpatrick has signed with Tennessee and Matt Hasselbeck has signed in Indianapolis, the back-up QB market is extremely thin. Bengals missed out on a great opportunity to add a quality player to a very important position.
The Amish Rifle may be heading back to Cincinnati. Ryan Fitzpatrick was in Arizona for the NFL league meetings yesterday and the former Bills starting QB, who was released last week, met with the Bengals. This is according to the Bengals team website.
Andy Dalton is the guaranteed starter this year, but the Bengals would like to add a veteran backup. Last year’s backup, Bruce Gradkowski, has gone to his home town to back up Big Ben in Pittsburgh.
Fitzpatrick spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons in Cincinnati, and Geoff Hobson of the Bengals web page was quick to point out that he’s well liked by owner Mike Brown, head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. Not only did Ryan meet with Marvin Lewis, but there were indications he also met with Bengals president Mike Brown and his family. If that did happen, it just shows how serious the Bengals are about bringing him back to Cincinnati as the No. 2 behind Dalton. Frankly, its a move that makes a lot of sense.
Bruce Gradkowski was a fine back up QB, and will continue to be for the Steelers. That being said, I think a guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick could really be great for Andy Dalton’s development. You’re talking about a guy who has 7 years of experience. A guy who has appeared in 73 games with over 14,000 yards passing and almost 100 TDs. Not over whelming stats, but compared to Gradkowski’s 36 games, 4000 passing yards, and 21 TDs in roughly the same time, it’s not even close.
Fitzpatrick frankly, doesn’t have the size or skills to be more than a serviceable starting QB in the NFL. That’s exactly what the Bills finally figured out half way through his 6 year deal in Buffalo. He does however, have the smarts and experience to be a great back up to Andy Dalton. With fans and coaches looking for Dalton to take the next step in his game and carry the Bengals deep into the playoffs, who better to help him along the way than a QB who has been a starter for the last 4 years, and can offer up advice on a league that Dalton is still trying to figure out how to play in?
Back up quarterback may be the most over looked signing for the Bengals this off season. While fans and other media members in this city are jumping down Marvin Lewis’ throat about getting a veteran WR or inking an Elvis Dumervil, I think one of the most important signings the Bengals have to make is at the quarterback position. A still extremely young Andy Dalton needs a mentor, a friend, and a guide to help him take that next step in his career. Not to mention, a man who can come off the bench and not have the season be a total loss if, God forbid, Dalton gets hurt. To me, it makes all too much sense that, that man is Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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